One Piece Film: Red, the fifteenth original animated movie in the soon-to-be 25-year-old manga series, is only four months away from premiering in Japan. In light of this news, fans of Monkey D. Luffy and his Straw Hat Pirates have once again started the debate that has plagued this fandom for ages now.
Needless to say, the addition of another movie to an already booming anime industry can only serve as more excitement stimulus for the already-restless One Piece community. That being said, certain questions warrant an answer, especially when it comes to Oda’s silly yet entertaining antics.
One Piece Red: Canon or Not?
Canon often varies from fandom to fandom; it isn’t uncommon to have an Alternate Universe or Timeline that diverges from the original lineup of a planned story or media. Some, like Marvel, even embrace it. It adds flavor to the narrative, and who doesn’t love a good ‘What-If’ scenario?
However, the One Piece community faces a rather unusual situation as Eiichiro Oda, the creator of the beloved series has yet to state if any of the supplemental material associated with the multimedia franchise is considered canon in regards to the main storyline.
As such, the majority of the fanbase only considers material worked directly on by Oda to be canon, thereby excluding certain anime and video game exclusive events that have popped up over the years.
That said, even if we were to set aside what the fanbase considers canon, the information we have learned so far about the movie makes it unlikely that it would fit into the manga’s storyline cohesively.
Is Wano Done and Dusted?
The first tidbit we received is that Jinbe, former Warlord of the Sea and ex-captain of the Sun Pirates, will be part of the Straw Hat crew in the movie. Jinbe has only recently joined the crew proper as a helmsman during the current Wano Country arc.
Hence the movie is implied to take place after the events of Wano which have yet to occur and, given the serialization’s current pace, it’s unlikely to conclude before the film’s debut. To add to this theory, a recent poster unveiled on the film’s official Twitter page last week showcasing the outfits for some of the Straw Hats has Zoro’s poster showcasing the sword Enma’s scabbard, having received the weapon during the Wano arc in exchange for his previous sword, Shusui.
Therefore, it’s unlikely that the Straw Hats suddenly decided to bail on their current assault on the Beast Pirates in favor of running off on a new adventure that the film will cover. Unless of course they somehow gain access to the Time-Time Fruit, but that’s a whole other can of worms.
Luffy and His Devil Fruit are charging up!
Recent revelations in the manga over the true nature of the Luffy’s devil fruit may also further thwart the film from receiving coveted canon status unless the film includes his recently revealed Gear Fifth mode. Given Oda’s habit of announcing major revelations only in the manga, that might be something that the animators of the film may have missed.
Will Shanks and Luffy Finally Meet?
Another noteworthy bit of info that might allude to the non-canon status of the film is the presence of the infamous Red-Haired Shanks, captain of the Red Hair Pirates, one of the Four Emperors of the New World, and the original owner of the Devil Fruit that is the source of Luffy’s powers. But most importantly, he is the person that inspired Luffy to become a pirate after he gifted his signature straw hat to the then child Luffy.
Shanks is infamous amongst the fans for appearing suddenly, only to dip as soon as he appeared. His cameos so far have been inconsistent, with his last direct interaction with the Straw Hats being the very first chapter, published back in 1997!
Shanks’ Role in One Piece: Red
The later glimpses of him in the manga primarily served for him to spew out exposition while discussing current events with key characters like the deceased Whitebeard, or during a secret meeting with the Five Elders, the heads of the World Government. Apart from these events, Shanks and his crew only seem to be relevant whenever the Straw Hats do something that causes Luffy’s bounty to increase.
Therefore, it seems likely that Shanks will play a very inconsequential role in the film, considering how absurd Oda would be to give a significant characterization for a major character like Shanks outside of the manga.
Especially when Shanks had promised Luffy that they would only meet again once the young pirate had reached his level. So, while he might be involved with the crew indirectly, it’s uncertain that his fated meeting with Luffy happens in this specific movie.
What do you think? With the number of filler arcs and additional material available in the fandom, would One Piece: Red just be another puff piece, forgotten after the hype? Or do you think it’s going to impact the main plot at all? Sound off below!